Arunachal Pradesh

A sparsely populated and mountainous state in northeast India, covering an area of 83,743 square kilometers. Arunachal Pradesh was formerly called the North East Frontier Agency during British rule. The region became the union territory of Arunachal Pradesh (“Land of the Rising Sun”) in 1972, and India’s 24th state in 1987. Itanagar serves as the state capital.
 
The state’s terrain rises from a series of foothills in the south to the Lesser Himalayas and on toward the Greater Himalayas along the Tibetan border. The Brahmaputra and its tributaries drain the region. The climate is subtropical in the foothills and lower elevations, and rainfall averages between 2,000 and 4,000 millimeters (between 80 and 160 inches) a year.
 
The population includes 20 main ethnic groups, and more than 50 languages are spoken. The state’s predominantly agricultural economy is based on slash-and-burn agriculture (jhum) in many areas. Although farmers in the area focus mainly on rice, they also cultivate maize, millet, wheat, pulses, potatoes, sugarcane, fruits, and oilseeds. The mountainous terrain makes modern transportation difficult and limits the state’s industrial potential. The region’s small-scale industries include timber, rice, and oil mills, soap and candle making, silkworm culture and silk production, and handicrafts. In 1992 the state was opened up to limited tourism.